Preview: CicLAvia – LA Phil @ 100

8 miles of performances, art and biking across LA!

September 28th, 2018
Melissa Karlin
Category: Lead Story, News

Hey, did you hear that? Oh, it’s just the sound of one of the biggest music meets movement events to hit Los Angeles coming our way on Sunday! Celebrate LA is an epic 8-mile biking and walking route that will turn the streets connecting the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl into the most epic street party to hit LA since those magic Lakers three-peat years. And it’s car free. Hell yeah. If you’ve never had the chance to do CicLAvia, this is the one to participate in.

Beginning at 8.30AM, a diverse array of music, food, art and dancing will be interwoven throughout the route, with stages/hub in Grand Park/Music Center, MacArthur Park, Koreatown, Melrose and Hollywood. With so much to do and so many performances to check out, here’s a little cheat sheet of some of the coolest performances of the day:

YOLA: Gustavo Dudamel’s Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles will help to kick off the big day at 8.30 with members of the LA Phil and a marching band from the Grand Stage. They’ll then be performing at various hubs throughout the rest of the day including the Hollywood Bowl at 1PM and Melrose Hub at 2.30.

Dengue Fever: Ever wanted to check out Cambodian pop music of the 1960s, but filtered through the contemporary American perspective? Be sure to be at the Koreatown Hub at 3PM to grove out with the best of em.

Klezmer Juice – Enjoy the classic sounds of Eastern European Jewish music, by way of Argentina. Because who knows of a horrah will just happen, and you do not wanna miss out on an opportunity to get lifted up in a chair while everyone dances in a circle around you. Trust me, I know from experience.

Las Cafetaras – Hometown hero alert: the group from East LA will be performing their energetic take on traditional son jarocho music at the Grand Avenue hub at 12!

Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra – No, your eyes do not deceive you. Jeff FREAKING LIFE FINDS A WAY Goldblum will be performing with his regular crew from the Rockwell Table & Stage at the Hollywood Hub in the shadow of the Capitol Records building at 12.15PM.

Leon Mobley and the Djembe West African Drummers and Dancers – 4 times throughout the day from the Melrose Hub, you can watch or join the West African dance party with the world-renowned percussionist! The performances will be 30 minutes long and begin at 9.30, 11, 12.30 and 2.

Pink Martini – I dunno about you all, but I love Pink Martini. As their mission describes, their sound is if the United Nations had a house band in 1962. And they’ll be on towards the end of the day on the Grand Ave Main Stage for a 90-minute set beginning at 6PM.

And there’s so much more to see! It’s times like this that make a girl wish time turners were real. The event is seriously called Celebrate LA for a reason. So many cultures and different kinds of music are going to be featured throughout the day.

And we’ll be there too, starting bright and early, sharing all the excitement on socials. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @lamusicblog. And join the conversation! Let us know what you’re checking out and what your favorite parts of the day were.

See you on Sunday to Celebrate LA!

Learn more about Celebrate LA.

Interview with Ancestors

LA based post/doom/psych band on their new album

September 26th, 2018
Lex Voight

RIYL: Isis, Neurosis, Sights and Sounds, This Will Destroy You
What does life feel like?
Not the bones, marrow, and sinew of our physical beings. Not the multitudes of forms around us. But a life, lived through—the process and the emotions.
Do you hold a metaphor of it in your head?
For me, life is a big pile of dirt.
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Review: KCRW World Festival @ The Hollywood Bowl

With Grizzly Bear, TVOTR and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

September 25th, 2018
Melissa Karlin
Category: Review

Everyone all over the internet (and I suppose real life) is talking about how summer is over. But not TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe. No, instead on Sunday night he wished the audience at the Hollywood Bowl a happy “second summer” before singing out a song about climate change. It’s a statement that radiated, much like heat does off the black top of a paved road in the desert in August, throughout the bowl, creating laughter and knowing sounds of uncomfortable agreement. It was an “Oh dayum, he went there” moment, but felt as though the artist on stage was pulling in our own anger and frustrations and using it to create performance. Because the audience was the community of KCRW listeners and indie music lovers who were just grooving to the unique sounds of three acts.

Now, at first glance, it may seem like Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, TV on the Radio and Grizzly Bear are vastly different kinds of performers, how can they possibly work on the same stage!? But each one flowed together, much like differing textures experienced at a museum exhibitions. These performers are labeled “art rock” by other music journalists for a very legitimate reason, even if I personally find that this label is quite reductive. This even though, it made sense. Each of these artists, these performers, these groups…they holistically came together to create a show, telling their own stories, but the through line was a kind of energy of experimentation and exploration in sound and story.

Beginning with Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s lopping electronic sounds, she employed three dancers. They moved at discomforting angles, wide eyed and with a primordial gaze. Limbs flailed with a shudder that was affecting and expressionistic, their movements flowing with the music at once interpreting and performing the sound.

Next up, TV on the Radio, performing an energetic set of bright colors and bombastic indie rock that they do so remarkably well. Each song has a different vibe, a different sound, but they tie it together through their specific texture. They played some of their “newer” tracks like “Happy Idiot” and “Trouble” but also classics like “Wolf Like Me” and “Shout Me Out”. Their energy and momentum felt like something that would be in a stadium show, inspiring people to rise from their comfortable terrace garden seats and shake their bodies to the beat of the music.

And then came Grizzly Bear, the perfect band to see while being surrounded by trees. Before describing the wondrous sounds, I just want to give a shout out to the lighting designer, because whoever that is, is a genius. It was incredible and immersive, and my photos really do not do it justice.

The band, who has been saying that this tour might actually be one of the last for a good while, were electric. The echoing croons of Edward Droste and Daniel Rossen washed over the outdoor stage, as they were bathed in back light that moved as an extension of the sound. They played mostly music from their first three full albums, hitting the indie hits like “Two Weeks” and “Knife” but also their most recent stand-out “Four Cyprusses”. The highlight though was the fact that Grizzly Bear performed songs that one might label a deep cut. These are the ones that truly affected me. Like “On a Neck, On a Spit” which blasts off after quiet beginnings. In the end, this set was a retrospective, a band celebrating their achievements and art, because they just might not have the chance to do it again soon.

Learn more about Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Learn more about TV on the Radio
Learn more about Grizzly Bear

Preview: KCRW’s World Festival @ Hollywood Bowl

With Grizzly Bear, TVOTR & Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

September 20th, 2018
Melissa Karlin
Category: Lead Story, News

Still looking for weekend plans? Look no further!

Sunday, September 23rd, Grizzly Bear, TV on the Radio AND composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith will be closing KCRW’s World Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. The evening will be hosted by KCRW DJ Anne Litt, in what might be the most KCRW show ever. It will be a night of grooving across the art rock spectrum, with each act bringing their unique approaches to the outdoor venue. High energy, ethereal and soulful sounds will bounce across the Hollywood Hills. Talk about ending on a high note, this concert is the perfect way to say goodbye to summer and hello to fire season (or as the rest of the world calls it: autumn).

Details: Sunday September 23, 2018 @ 7PM
Tickets are still available

Learn more about Grizzly Bear, TV on the Radio and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith.
Learn more about KCRW.

On Murder By Death and The Other Shore

On their 8th effort, MBD heads for the stars.

September 2nd, 2018
Lex Voight
Category: Lead Story, Review

Theres a gentle susurration, as if an orchestra is warming up. The swell of an accordion before a guitar is plucked delicately and you are thrust headlong into a new (old) world. Thus begins the new opus from Murder By Death, storytellers extraordinaire, and what follows is 40 minutes of bliss that pulls influences from the veteran band’s discography to spin a tale that spans years and lightyears.
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Kai Exos LAMB Session

International soul-influenced pop with aspirations

August 20th, 2018
Lex Voight
Category: Video

Theres a staccato charm to Kai Exos’ first song, a stuttering and yet somehow smooth neo-soul/pop song which brandishes a dizzying array of influences. Singing, he can barely be contained–pacing back and forth as he quietly croons over his guitar accompaniment. Check out the session after the jump.
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Ginette Claudette Lamb Session

The now LA based songstress slays a LAMB session

August 19th, 2018
Lex Voight

Ginette Claudette seems born for stardom. The DR by way of NY and now LA-based songstress stopped by for some soul-inspired r and b showcasing her talents and chatting about her influences and some of the difficulties she’s experienced from gaining success early in her career.
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